Scholastic Paperbacks, 2005. 978-0439650762
Synopsis: Months have passed since Gregor’s adventure in the Underland to rescue his father and he’s getting more and more hopeful that he will never have to return. But when his sister Boots appears to be kidnapped while they are out sledding, Gregor finds himself once again at the mercy of the Underlanders and another prophecy. This time, he is called upon to kill a rat called the Bane in order to avoid another war, but will Gregor be able to fulfill the prophecy if he knows that it means his sister is in danger?
Why I picked it up: I enjoyed the first book in the series and wanted to keep following Gregor’s adventures.
Why I finished it: Like The Hunger Games, The Underland Chronicles sets children in the midst of a war-like setting and explores how the characters and the reader react to the traumas. Gregor is clearly affected by his first trip to the Underland and though the circumstances by which he finds himself coming back are unforseen, he knows that he has a duty to protect his sister and help the Underlanders. While he does not think of himself as much of a warrior, Gregor is indeed being molded into one so that he will be able to fight in a war that no one knows if they will win since the disruption of an uneasy peace. He is rejoined by Princess Luxa, Ares the bat, and Ripred the Rat, who still share the same strange camaraderie as in the first book, and each have some sort of role to play in Gregor’s renewed quest to stave off conflict. The story is growing much more emotionally intense now that Boots is in danger of being taken by the rats. Gregor is growing much more anxious about how his life and those of the Underlanders are becoming more and more intertwined. Collins has created a world filled with high adventure with danger lurking around an unsuspecting corner that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and turning the pages until they reach the final dramatic conclusion.
Other related materials: Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins; Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (The Underland Chronicles, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins; Gregor and the Marks of Secret (The Underland Chronicles, Book 4) by Suzanne Collins; Gregor and the Code of Claw (The Underland Chronicles, Book 5) by Suzanne Collins; The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins; The Books of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau; Fablehaven books by Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman; Beyonders books by Brandon Mull; Five Kingdoms series by Brandon Mull; Wings of Fire books by Tui T. Sutherland; The Maze Runner books by James Dashner; Adventurers Wanted books by M.L. Forman; Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi; The Search for WondLa series by Tony DiTerlizzi